The iconic Strand restaurant sadly shows no signs that it will reopen any time soon

The iconic Strand restaurant sadly shows no signs that it will reopen any time soon

Mystery surrounds the future of one of Britain’s most historic restaurants, with Simpson’s in the Strand yet to reopen post-pandemic and showing no signs that it will do so any time soon.

Established in 1828, the iconic venue has played host to the likes of prime ministers Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone and was also a favourite of author Charles Dickens.

Its carvers were known for slicing meat at the table so as not to disturb customers playing chess — a tradition maintained up until the present day.

The Grade II-listed building, which previously claimed to serve ‘the best Sunday roast in London’, underwent an extensive renovation as recently as 2017.

Like all food and drink establishments, the venue near Covent Garden was forced to close in March 2020 owing to Covid restrictions. However, no longer affected by the curbs, other eateries have long since reopened for business. But there is no indication that Simpson’s will be following suit.

‘I’m really worried that they won’t open up again at all. It’s been two- and-a-half years now and nothing seems to be happening,’ says one regular customer. ‘I keep walking past hoping to see some sign of life at the venue.

‘But the longer it remains shut, the more worried I get that it won’t ever open up again. And, even if it does, how many of the old staff will still be there?’

‘I’m really worried that they won’t open up again at all. It’s been two- and-a-half years now and nothing seems to be happening,’ says one regular customer. Pictured: Simpson’s interior

A Simpson’s in the Strand spokesperson sought to reassure me that the venue hasn’t closed for good but was unable to provide any further detail about a reopening date. They said: ‘At the moment, the reopening date and staffing of Simpson’s is still to be confirmed.’

When I pressed them further, they assured me that it would be reopening at some point, saying: ‘We are planning a reopening, have no fear.’

The restaurant’s website suggests that customers are still able to book tables.

But, when you try to reserve one, a message reads: ‘The restaurant is temporarily offline. Please contact the restaurant directly or check back shortly for availability.’

Start of the dog days for hairy Hugh

When starring as Dr Gregory House on U.S. show House, Hugh Laurie’s rumoured fee of £250,000 per episode made him the highest paid actor on the small screen.

Yet you’d never know that to look at the dishevelled 63-year-old, who — with bushy beard, unkempt hair, creased clothing, and sporting scratches on both his arms and legs — appeared to be channelling his inner Robinson Crusoe while taking his dog for a walk in North London.

The Cambridge-educated comedian previously spoke about the difficulties of being based in Los Angeles for nine months at a time to film the Fox show, while his wife, three children and furry friends remained in the UK.

Having taken on the role — which earned him two Golden Globes and six Emmy nominations — in 2004, Hugh eventually hung up his doctor’s jacket in 2012.

After moving back to the UK, one of the things he said he was most looking forward to doing was ‘walking the dog’ again.

Dame Joan Collins wants the Euros success of the England women’s football team to have a knock-on effect when it comes to acting. The evergreen 89-year-old asks: ‘Now that the misogynists have accepted the term Lionesses for our fabulous footballers, can we please reclaim the beautiful word ‘actress’ instead of ‘female actor’ for the many of us who wish to be called that without risking being called bigoted or sexist?’

Boris’s wedding quip and a dose of deja vu 

Who knew Boris Johnson was so big on recycling? After joking to guests at his weekend wedding celebration that his removal from 10 Downing Street was the ‘greatest stitch-up since the Bayeux Tapestry’, some felt a sense of deja vu.

That’s because the 58-year-old outgoing Prime Minister used exactly the same comparison during the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Referring to then PM David Cameron — who hoped to reform the EU rather than leave it — Mr Johnson told crowds in Staffordshire: ‘My friends, it is a stitch-up. Indeed, it is the biggest stitch-up since the Bayeux Tapestry.’

Having officially tied the knot with 34-year-old Carrie Symonds last year, he threw a lavish bash at the weekend in Daylesford House in the Cotswolds. Owned by Lord and Lady Bamford, the Grade I-listed building also boasts a swimming pool and 1,500-acre estate. It seems the venue wasn’t Carrie’s only something borrowed…

Lady Louise steps out in mum’s frock

Some women dread turning into their mothers — but Lady Louise Windsor seems delighted to replicate her mum’s sartorial style.

The 18-year-old daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex wore a sleeveless dress by designer Peter Pilotto to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham yesterday —the very same dress worn by Sophie Wessex seven years ago.

Lady Louise accompanied her 14-year-old brother, James, and her 57-year-old mother, who previously wore the elegant frock to the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015.

Castle bash for Sotheby’s boss

He’s the supreme showman — not to mention son of the 7th Earl of Rosebery — so there was no chance that Sotheby’s chairman Lord Dalmeny, 54, would cut corners celebrating his marriage to 33-year-old art director Harriet Clapham.

A week after the couple married privately, they took 300 friends to Barnbougle Castle, near Edinburgh, for a swanky bash complete with a disco tent, dance floor and bar. Among the wedding party was his ex-wife Caroline Daglish who said she was ‘delighted’ to have Harriet as ‘a member of our extended family’.

The thing Tom Holland loves most about playing Spider-Man is having to cover his face. Because it means the 26-year-old actor can have a big night out before filming and nobody is any the wiser.

‘If I’ve gone out the night before and had too much to drink, no one knows because I’m wearing a mask,’ he says. Although I’m not sure it’s the best approach when it comes to his line-learning technique.

‘I tend to learn my lines the morning of, so everything I say is as fresh as possible,’ he adds.

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By Jon Doe